Here’s a recipe for weekend lunches. Toasted bread with a cheese crust is topped with creamy white beans and tomatoes in a light sauce. Fairly simple and light but filling, this white bean ragout has a lot of flavor. That flavor is coming from the sofrito, a combination of finely chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic sauteed in olive oil for a half hour or so. And now I’ve got leftover sofrito waiting in the freezer to start off a better sauce or soup.
Bon Appétit wanted me to add 4 cups of broth to the beans, but that seemed like way, way too much liquid. Start with 1 cup and add another if you’d like the beans and sauce to be a little thinner.
white bean ragout with toast
To speed things up, use a food processor to cut the onion and the bell pepper. I felt like chopping. This recipe also calls for you to make more sofrito than needed for the ragout. Save the leftover sofrito to quickly boost a soup or sauce another day. Bean ragout will keep in the fridge for a few days. Reheat each batch with a little more broth.
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
4 or 6 1-inch-thick slices ciabatta
6 to 8 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided
30 ounces (2 cans) cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Stir in chopped onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion and pepper are softened, about 30 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and tomato paste, and cook and stir often until the paste dyes everything a deep red, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and measure out 1/2 cup of the sofrito to use for the ragout. Transfer the rest to a jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Place bread on a baking sheet and coat each slice in 1 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Toast in the oven until the cheese begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Set bread on plates or shallow bowls.
In the same skillet used for the sofrito, heat up the 1/2 cup of sofrito and the beans over medium-high heat and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup of broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer until liquid is slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and another 1/2 cup to 1 cup broth, depending on how saucy you’d like it. Simmer until tomatoes soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Top each slice of ciabatta with some of the bean ragout and broth. Garnish each with chopped parsley.